No matter what the feuding dieticians say about saturated fat, red meat, carbs, or protein, vegetables will always be the golden child of any diet.
Vegetables are very low-calorie, low-sugar, low-carb, and low-fat. In fact, it’s low in just about everything but fiber and nutrients… the things your diet needs the most. It’s safe to say if you had enough vegetables every day, there would be no need to even consider popping a vitamin pill… or any other for that matter.
However, we have to deal with the fact that vegetables are unfortunately less convenient than other less-healthy items in terms of buying, storing, cooking, and preparing in a way that actually tastes good.
Throw me a steak and I can make it work with just about any heat source. Throw me a head of bok choy and I’m going to spend 10 minutes Googling how to cook it, 10 minutes Googling how to make it taste good, and another 5 minutes Googling what the hell bok choy is.
So here are some short cuts to make sure you eat enough vegetables every day with your simple diet plan.
Get More Vegetables in Your Diet
#1 Easy Raw Choices
There will be plenty of times when you’re on the go and unable to really cook anything. If you are trying to get 2-3 vegetables in your diet every day, you can’t bank on always having leftover cooked veggies to take with you.
Because of this, you need to have a few raw goodies on call for you whenever you need them.
For me, the best items for this are red bell pepper and a bag of mixed greens from Trader Joe’s.
A red bell pepper tastes great on its own. It’s not bland or spicy, and actually should taste pretty sweet. You can cut it in slices or even eat it as if it’s an apple.
If you have a bag of mixed greens or baby spinach, you can easily dump some into a plastic container and put in a little-closed cup of salad dressing and you’re good to go.
Other options for you could be carrots, little tomatoes, or celery. Just make sure that anything raw you choose does not taste bland or boring. You have to enjoy it if it’s to become a habit in your day.
#2 Frozen is Awesome
At any grocery store, you’re going to see a lot of frozen veggie options. Aside from the convenience of having vegetables which never go bad, you also have the wondrous benefit that your food will most likely be cut up for you already.
This means you can put a bag or two of veggies in the steamer or microwave, and within some minutes, you’re done and can even have some leftover portions available to cool and refrigerate for tomorrow. Since the veggies are pre-cut, this means all you need to do when on the go or in a hurry is grab a fork and chow down right out of the container without any preparation.
Just make sure you vary the types of vegetables you eat. You don’t want fall into the temptation of lazily having a corn, peas, & carrots mix every day.
By the way, if you have a little more time and are willing to do some chopping, a steamer pot will also be your best friend for any fresh vegetables you get at the market. It probably only adds about 5 minutes to the process to chop up and is just a simple “add water & stir” process.
#3 Make Green Smoothies
If you have any New Age, woo-woo friends on Facebook, you have almost certainly seen your friends post pictures of their Vitamix… a wonder-blender that lets you stuff in broccoli, apples, celery, and a lead pipe and end up with a beautifully smooth and tasty drink.
Now if you are thinking you should go out and buy a Vitamix, I can warn you that it will cost you about $380-$700 for the privilege.
The good news is that no matter what your raw foodie friends tell you, you don’t actually need a Vitamix or Blendtec to make green smoothies.
Whatever blender you have right now will let you make smoothies out of chard, spinach, kale, collards, or mustard greens. Just about any leafy vegetable you can chew in a salad will be fine in a blender, though it may take more poking around when mixing.
Just add about 4 to 6 ounces of almond milk, two ice cubes, and stuff in a bunch of greens into the blender. When I say “a bunch,” I mean way more than you can comfortable eat in a big salad bowl. The blender will end up giving you 1/5 of the volume you put in once the greens are chopped to smithereens and mixed in the almond milk.
Now you have a super-green drink that you can make in a few minutes. You’ll have to experiment with what green drinks taste best for you. For me, spinach is the easiest swallow, with chard as a close second. You’ll have to see what works best for your tastes.
Always remember that vegetables tasting good is essential for you to follow any of the suggestions above. Even if you have to sub in a “less impressive vegetable” like carrots or cucumber instead of broccoli or kale, it will be worth it if it means you actually eat it.
And yeah… only resort to V8 if you absolutely have to.